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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  July 2, 2009 1:30am-2:00am EDT

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in this sentiment. it is pretty much a pleasure for me to be invited anywhere. it does not happen very often. to give united the strange existence the we have in the york city, for the longest time our offices were located above the offices of a rap recording studio. the most interesting part is the stranger to efficient about how when we opened the car windows in the spring and summer, there was an unmistakable oder that would -- odor that would waft up. many times we have been produced in the haze of marijuana smoke. some people think that explains a lot. my favorite story in urban america is a man that told a
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story that was told briefly at harvard. many moved to cambridge, it was in the fall. there was a congressional election. he and voted in that election and reflexively and voted against the democrats in the race. the next morning, it was curious how it turned out. he asked his wife at the breakfast table, how did the election? how did the republican do? she looked at the newspaper in london very quickly and said, there was another republican in that race. republican in that race. >> he said look, i know i voted against the democrat. she said, honey, you voted for the communists. which is the way it goes in urban america. it is an honor to be here today with so many thinkers and leaders. a little-known fact, those are the columns left over from barack obama oppose it
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acceptance speech in denver this summer. [laughter] i agree with everything that has been said this morning, but i want to start with a defensive point. can now be a little defensive? it was prompted by of paul ryan's remarks. what we are really witnessing is a war on american exception lissome and the american character as it has existed throughout our history. if you want to think about who we are, we have always been a commercial nation characterized by an open and dynamic economy, across the sweep of western history the last several centuries, there has always been one superpower, if you will, that is characterized by having a large navy, a sophisticated financial system, and it's over leaning concern is increasing its national wealth through commerce. first it was the dutch, then the
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british took over from the dutch, and then we took over from the british. that is who we are. we have also always been a world power with crusading tendencies come right from the very beginning. the founders talked of our new country as an empire. george washington used over and over again the phrase "and empire of liberty." george washington spoke of settling the ohio river valley, but his vision swept further westward and across the continent. they always knew that if we were a success as a nation, we have a huge role to play in world affairs. we have always been fundamentally a middle-class nation, about individual aspiration, from the very beginning. arguably, by some measures, even before the revolution, on a per- capita basis, where the wealthiest country on earth. if you want to look at someone
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who epitomizes this characteristic of america, the to the founder of the republican party, abraham lincoln. something that he just hated in the marrow of his bones was economic stasis. he hated the jeffersonian vision, the jeffersonian ideal of a country that was always, forever more, going to be yeoman arms, leaving virtuously on their lands. he was estranged from his father because his father could never move beyond that vision. he was a lawyer for the railroads, because the railroads for him represent progress and economic advance. there is nothing he would have hated more than the idea of the federal government prompting -- propping up a dying or dead industry in the form of gm and chrysler and detroit as exist today. finally, we have always been a small "d"democracy.
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before the revolution, we had the freest institutions on earth. governor daniels forbearers to founded this nation talked about representing the dissidents of dissent and protest wing of the protestant religion. we have always defined american citizenship -- always thought it got its fundamental meaning from personal responsibility and from self-reliance and self government. if you just look at these four things that represent a thumbnail sketch of american exceptional listen, every single one of them is under threat today. this is the fundamental radicalism of the obama vision, little clique -- literally the radicalism, because of attacks are roadour roots of what we ara
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nation. i just want to make three practical points about our political situation today, which is not a very pleasurable to consider. the last two elections were reason to recall the immortal words of mo udall, the democratic center ran for the democratic presidential nomination in the late 1970's. it did not turn out well in the new hampshire primary. he went out and face the cameras and said the voters have spoken, the bastards. [applause] 3 practical points, to cautionary and one optimistic. already has not come up yet today -- ronald reagan is often at the forefront of the discussion about what the conservative future should be. it is very important for us to remember two things about reagan.
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one, despite all his incredible political skills, he would not have one the election if it were not for inflation, if it were not for gas lines, if it were not for the iranian hostage crisis, if it were not for afghanistan, if it were not for the entire linney of carter's administration failures -- entire litany of carter administration failures. when you are as far down as republicans were in the 1970's and as far down as they are today, you need the other side to fumble, and for its vision to be discredited. at the moment, barack obama has the ball, and he will have the ball until he commits some sort of turnover. there will have to be some patients here, as governor daniels' pointed out. although reagan was an ideologue in the best sense of the word, he had a few key ideas that undergird it his view of the world.
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we should not forget he was an intensely practical man as well. he was concerned with practical successes in the political arena and was willing to compromise to get those successes. so yes, we need principles, and we need to return to principles, but principles without prudence is folly. on the other hand, flexibility without a philosophical groundings becomes mere opportunism. what we need to try to hit is that sweet spot of statesmanship, which reagan did and which we need to try to do. it is much easier said than done, which is why i prefer being a political pundit and leaving the statesmanship to the likes of governor daniels. just on spending, there is a lot of talk on the right about how important it is to resist thinning and cut spending --
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resist spending. there is a lot of truth to that, but it needs to be unpacked a little bit. pork barrel spending heard republican congress, not because constituents back home were outraged at getting these local projects. it was because that spending came to symbolize the self interested nature at the end of the republican majority, and because it was caught up in a very real culture of corruption. spending in general, unfortunately, is not necessarily always unpopular. arguably, the most popular domestic initiative passed by the bush administration and republican congress was an awful, unfunded new entitlement program in the form of the prescription drug bill. so yes, we need to limit government, but we have to realize, limiting government, cutting spending in the abstract is not necessarily popular.
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we have to connect that agenda to real concerns and real people's lives. this is where i endorse every single word that governor daniels said, although i find the idea of traveling 100,000 miles in and are be horrifying. regina -- traveling in an rv to be horrifying. if you gave me another dozen mitch daniels, i could move the world. this is a wonderful cover story by my colleague, mark hemingway. i am an optimist, because as conservatives, we have to believe reality is on our side at the end of the day. we believe three things, if you want to boil them down. that the market is the best way
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to allocate capital, that the world as a dangerous place that requires a tough mindedness in confronting it, and you cannot have a healthy society without traditional social structures and without virtue. we do not believe these things because they are convenient or because they are popular. there are not always popular or convenient. we believe them because they are true, and because they are true, they will be vindicated eventually. in the meantime, i am an optimist because i believe with bismarck that god loves -- looks after drunkards, fools, and the united states of america, and he better. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you to all of our panelists. now we have time to turn it over to you. i know you have a lot on your minds. we would like to hear from you, interacting with our panelists. we will start with anyone who wants to kick it off with the first question or topic for discussion. i almost abdicated my responsibilities at -- as moderator. please wait for the microphone, say to you are, and stand up, if you would. >> i have worked for everybody. i am depressed. say something about politics that will cheer me up. [laughter]
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>> joe biden. [laughter] >> not that. >> the first way to assure ourselves up is to say that nothing lasts forever, that we need to think in the long term. if we do believe that we are right and that the policies that are being pursued by the administration and congress now are going to be disastrous, we should hope and believe first of all that that is a case we could make to the public, and second, that is a case that becomes evident over time. that is how political power changes hands. it is certainly a depressing moment, that is for sure. as conservatives, we very often thrive on depression, and this is a time for that if ever there has been one. >> i thought one of the most illuminating books i can remember reading was "well and decline of nations." the point was made that
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societies that have grown the most rapidly are those recovering from a real disaster, natural disaster, wars, that sort of thing. why? because old ideas, old institutions get swept away and more rapidly than anyone would have ever expected. have ever expected. new people, new ideas and formulations adapting to the problems of today. i choose to leave that we will see that. >> i also think that dick barack obama had run on this agenda that he is implemented, that he -- i have serious doubts that he would have won. he run on fiscal probity. he wanted to cut the waste. he ran on tax cuts. what he is done so far is the
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very easiest thing, which is to spend and spend and spend. eventually, the tough part comes when you have to pay for that either through tax cuts for inflation or some combination of both. i think it is a very depressing time because we are so appalled by so many things that obama is doing, but he is a 65% approval rating there are a number things that he is done better dog whistles to us. they are as bad as we've ever imagine. for most people, he is not done anything wrong here. he is not done anything really to upset them yet. when he has to pay for his agenda or does not pay for it m.a.c. consequences from that, i believe we will see things turn around. >> this is the traditional jewish case for optimism. the look of the worst. [laughter] there are too few answers to
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your question. number one, every conservative knows that good things come to those that way. number two, the democrats would blow themselves up. let's go on to the next question. >> i am a syndicated columnist. you all touch on the importance of the family and traditional virtues. we have new debt said that shows the illegitimacy rate is 40% overall. it is much higher in the number of communities in the black communities in hispanic communities. in light of that, how you all think that we can make the case either intellectually or through government policy to strengthen the family without seeming to be cold? hout seeming to be critics it? -- without seeming to be critics? >> first of all, as you have for
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a long time, it is the number one social problem facing the country. i tell people if they gave me the proverbial want, by which would be that every child in the state grow up in an intact family. in which case every social problem that tears at our hearts with diminished dramatically. i would answer your question by saying i would try to come at it as with many other issues, always from the standpoint of, what would our policy mean to the most vulnerable people, to those presently left behind? this is very easy to talk about in that way. when i say to african-american audiences as i have on dozens of occasions that we have children and our state who have $100 sneakers but no one to read to them at home, who have electronic gizmos that princes
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and barons would never have but nobody who helps shake their character, every head in the room agrees. it cannot be by scolding. that has to be spoken on behalf of the defenseless. there is a common sense about it i did not find most people argue with. the only people who argue with the sense of what you say empirically, the himalaya of data, the only people who argue are the privileged to say they can actually get by without respecting the traditional forms that have worked for so long. >> i think it is a really important question, and one that is hard to get your hands around perry one thing i would suggest is talking about it in terms of economic aspirations. if you want to succeed and get
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ahead in this society, this is what you need. so long as we have a high illegitimacy rates, we're looking at permanently bifurcated society. the people i hang out with on the upper west side, a support libertinism, but they are rich and walking around pushing baby strollers with their wife or husband. and it is good for them, but they did not really live what they preach. i think one message we have to get out is if you are really concerned about economic inequality and you really want help people get ahead, you have to have a stable foundation and a two-parent family. >> i totally agree. this subject is a way for conservatives to enter into arguments about cultural and social policy that could on one side seems scolding. this is the reason to care about social mobility, this is the reason to care about the
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next generation. the attack on the family, the failure of the family is an attack by the rich and the poor. it is not about class warfare, it is about a failure of our culture to explain to our self poway culture survives and thrives. i think consumers should look at it -- i think conservatives should look at it as a way to say it is an agenda for the people most in need in the country and why caring about the people most in need is not figuring out about it whose tax money should go to who else but what kind of society we should be. is difficult to argue without seeming like we are lecturing. >> it is not a lecture about how people should live but a promise of better life. couching it in those terms makes the conservative movement a movement of optimism and reform and real change for america. right here.
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>> thank you. i am with the fund for american studies. governor daniels, you said we have to speak to young people, and arthur burks in his opening comments provided the polling data which was fairly depressing -- arthur c. brooks came out with the polling data that came out a month ago which was fairly depressing. could you tell us how we speak to the young people? >> first of all, i am not particularly surprised were ejected that some pollster -- or dejected that some pollster find some flirtation with socialism among the young. duke and the room does not remember how malleable your views were when you were young? mine were. i think it is still game on there. first of all, as a practical
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strategy, we cannot force that -- we cannot force it -- it -- forfiet the ability to speak to the next generation, and you are simply stepping yourself as a movement that is facing forward. there is so much to say the young people right now, so much at stake to them. the way they structure their family, and specifically the debt that a pilot. if they think student loans or a problem, just wait. they are becoming aware of this. i probably recklessly gave a commencement speech years ago about standing on the shoulders of the last generation, don't do that. >> you want to hear something depressing? i went back and i was reading a
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biography of ronald reagan and he was talking about reagan in 1983, 1984, he had 82% approval rating among the young. 82%. this reminded me, last fall, i was talking about how i became a conservative when i was a teenager, and i said there was this discredited incumbent who was an office at the time of economic turmoil and crisis who seemed to be out of -- events abroad seem to be out of control and is amazingly particulate and culpable figure promising change. somehow through this litany i thought, damn, we have the exact opposite happening now. how you crack the nut of appealing to the youth again, i am not sure i have an answer, but a lot of it just comes about by having answers to the key
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questions of the day. it is not as though reagan went out of his way to appeal to youth. is just that he seemed to have a better way and a forward-looking attitude. >> the younger, experimental naturally gravitate toward people giving a that has grown up with a lot of choices, a lot of control over their own life, the internet generation of itunes and ebay and facebook that is not going to take well to the experience of going to the dmv to get a doctor. they are not going to take well to economic control at the time. if we could make that way in a
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case that really explains what they are saying when we see socialism, if they could explain what it means about arguing in these terms, talk about the debt and the way it speaks to them, it has always been a problem to explain the meaning of debt in the abstract. we're getting to the point where it is very real, the effect on the next generation is growing easier to explain. it still makes for a dull economic argument, but if conservatives can speak to the language and the effect of all of this, that will speak to some younger voters. >> every business person knows, the difference is that they see the tragedy is that everybody else sees and sees opportunity that could make meaningful change, make lots of money, whatever happens to be. your formative years and mine, when we were jr.s -- when we
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were our junior year in high school, what is the message that we have to be inculcating right now among young people in the conservative media and a movement? what are the parts of the message? >> as the government -- as the governor touched on, dad and entitlements are something that you think -- debt and entitlements are something that catch the eyes of the young people because it will be something they ultimately pay for. we really need four things in general. we need new leaders, which we do not have yet, but you see some rising up. you need policy, new policy that connects our principles and ideas to the challenges of the day. you need the right tone, which is another very important point the government -- the governor made. the idea that the mccain
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campaign did not talk about social issues at all i think is bunk, but i think there is a problem about how they talked about culturally charged issues. fourth, you need circumstances to turn your way. we do not have any of these things right now, but you can see how they will turn in our direction. in the absence of those four things, trying to target specific groups, i am not sure how useful exercise that is. >> and real son. -- henry olson. it is almost like you are all doctors and you were talking about sick patients. i like to ask you to be a little more clinical. why is the patient sick? why is conservatism not
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acceptable among wide breaths of people? is it because of things we fail to do over the last few years? is it largely due to long-term changes in public opinion or demographics with which we are currently out of touch? or is it a mixture? >> i think there is a real combination of those sorts of factors. to begin with, there's an element of paying the price for our success. if you had asked a conservative and early 1980's with the major issues were on the table, he would have heard about crime and welfare and taxes. if you asked somebody today, it is likely none of those issues would be the top of their list. the reason of that are conservative successes, successful reforms from a conservative roomette -- from a conservative movement that change the welfare system dramatically, that changed law enforcement dramatically. the kinds of things about which
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conservatives were very creative a generation ago are not issues. the challenge of directing yourself to new issues is very complicated. conservatives have been very uncomfortable with health care a long time, and itakes real work and effort to get to the point where you see health care issue like you see the welfare issue. it is begging for conservative, market oriented solutions that would address the problems. i think that is one reason. another reason has to do with the fatigue of being in power the fatigue of being in power for a long we do not intend to operate intellectually as the governing party. that is a good and bad thing. we think of ideas. we have a different notion. power is not everything to us. it is probably different from the left. there are cerin
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